Endless Poetry (Poesía sin fin)

July 23, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Posted in 2017 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ½

When I was a young man, half my life ago now, I read a book by Tim O’Brien called, “The Things They Carried.” In it, he had a chapter called, “How to write a true war story,” in which he explained that telling the “truth” sometimes meant making things up. That was a revelation to me, that emotional truth could sometimes only be told by abandoning one’s adherence to what actually happened. Alejandro Jodorowsky is on a journey to tell his life story in film. But not the facts of his life nearly as much as the feeling of his life. First with 2014’s “The Dance of Reality,” and now with this film, he seems to be trying to understand his own life by explaining it to us. The first film covered his early childhood. This one tells the story of his adolescence and young adulthood. Again, his troubled relationship with is father and his anxiety about death are central themes. And, again, he does not deal with any of this in a straight forward narrative. Instead, everything is metaphor. His mother only sings her lines, which represents the fact that she was a failed singer who was deeply sad about her missed opportunities, though nothing in the film will explain that to you. The movie is loaded with images just like that and you will miss the meaning behind most of them. But that really is okay because what comes through so clearly is how deeply emotionally honest this film is trying to be. As with the last one, Jodorowsky appears frequently behind the actor who plays him, commenting about the events on screen. His father in both movies is played by his eldest son and, in this film, the young adult version of Jodorowsky is played by his younger son. This is a deeply personal affair. It is at times evocative, touching and often quite beautiful. It can also be strange, uncomfortable and oddly funny. And, as with the last one, it was just a bit too long. Though how do you tell a man which bits of his life to leave off the screen? It’s clear that he plans on making at least a couple more of these, if time allows. This man is on a journey toward self-understanding, acceptance and forgiveness. I’m grateful he has invited us all along.

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